5 Ways to Keep Your Holidays Healthy, yet Sane

Ok, by now, I’m sure your family get-togethers have been planned and you’re probably already planning the menu for guests, and maybe even starting to do some serious house cleaning. This Christmas has been one of the most hectic I’ve had in years…and planning parties and going to them can be more stress than it’s worth, sometimes. Since my husband and I both have family in the town where we live, this means sheer chaos. Fortunately, I’ve applied the below tips, and they’ve saved me so much stress this season!

1. Don’t be afraid to say “No”. It’s ok to not go to great aunt Geraldine’s get-together every year. If you absolutely have to go. It’s also ok to ask if you can just “drop-in” at get-togethers. This is a time for peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and it shouldn’t leave you wanting to rip your hair….or anyone else’s for that matter, out. If you need to, write a list of your top events. When it’s written down, you’re more likely to stick to it.

2. Don’t get caught up in commercialization. I’m crafty, but there are gift ideas for even the most “uncrafty” of us. I like being creative, and it helps calm my stress levels way down. I like to listen to audiobooks, or even my favorite music while I crochet. Currently, I’m listening to C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. To be honest, sometimes holiday shoppers are rude, and that just makes me cranky to see people being so selfish when there are plenty around the world who have nothing, so we like the low maintenance approach. Even if it means ordering online, don’t get caught up in the frenzy.

3. Keep some sort of fitness and food regime. Maintaining this order at home can keep you from going bananas! I have lots of short workouts on here! Just because you won’t make it to the squat rack today does not mean that training has to go out the window! Break it up into 10 min. in the morning and 10 minutes at night. Make a goal to drink water at home, and eat 3 servings of veggies a day if nothing else. Make it doable, and know that your body will thank you for it later…and so will your sanity.

4. Have a low maintenance family day. Put on a movie, a pot of wassail, and some chili, and just talk. Get caught up. This is a time for family, not to-do lists. If you’re saying, “but I can’t”, this means you’re too busy.

5. Bless someone else. I love all the “acts of kindness” challenges going on this month. It doesn’t have to be big, even just taking some food to a neighbor whose lost their job, will really bless someone, and take your mind off of your own problems! I mean really, can goods cost about seventy cents…There are plenty of ways you can help by donating time or resources this year.

I know from Thanksgiving to New Years’ things seem to get crazy, but I promise, if you write out a simple plan and stick to it. You and your loved ones will reap the benefits.

Remember the Reason for the Season!

A Chili Recipe for Chilly Evenings Ahead

Hi There,
I’ve been experiencing internet difficulties, so this is why I’m posting this recipe so late today. Are you looking for an easy, yet satisfying crockpot meal for all your get-togethers, and those crazy weeknights? Never fear my white bean chicken chili is hear, and my family tells me it’s quite scrumptious, and super easy to make.

White Bean Chicken Chili
4 cans great northern beans
1-7 oz can of chopped green chiles
1 yellow onion, sliced and sauted
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed and browned
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 c. water

Cube chicken and add onions just before chicken is cooked through. Do this on medium-low heat so as not to overcook the chicken. Add all ingredients to a large crock pot and stir. Cook on medium for 3 hours. Enjoy!

Micah loves this meal, and this chili even pleases the most finicky eaters in our family! This is a great meal after a long run or a grueling workout class!

Monday Motivation: Balance and Moderation

How many of us ate until we were stuffed and enjoyed every minute of it? I did!!!! Yes, my husband eat clean at home, but we enjoy splurging at family gatherings. With the holidays advancing, I’d love to approach this often controversial topic: balance and moderation. We here these terms used in vague and generic ways in the fitness industry, but I’d like to discuss this in no uncertain terms.

How much is moderation? Well, for some of us it is a lot less than we think it is. For example, we had 2 thanksgiving feasts in one day. My dad has to be careful with certain foods because of inflammation issues, so we cooked pretty healthy for lunch. I made a g-free, almond-crusted sweet potato casserole, and healthier green bean casserole, but we still ate traditional stuffing with the turkey….you see, we knew our limits. None of us wanted to feel wretched later either. haha….The food was good, and we enjoyed some of our favorite foods without overdoing it. I even had a slice of  pecan pie. (gasp).

Micah’s family is much more diverse, they oftentimes have up to 3 types of stuffing, a salad, and several casseroles, and several turkeys….yes, I said several turkeys, there’s a lot of Aulers, Coulters, and Williamses when you throw us all together. I didn’t pig out on everything, but I definitely enjoyed a variety. This brings me to my point. There are many people out there that think that moderation is avoiding everything….really??? This accomplishes nothing. You get so wrapped up in what you’re eating that you can’t enjoy any of the festivities. Does it mean trying everything, no, you don’t have to try everything. Moderation is using self-control, and knowing where your limits lie, and purposing in your mind that you will be back to your healthy eating habits the next day.

Some healthier options for getting rid of those leftovers include: fixing a fresh salad to go with turkey, making a turkey chili, drinking water with your leftovers instead of sodas. There are lots of options. Micah and I have made healthy food choices a lifestyle, so getting back to our regular routine wasn’t a stretch. It’s not about crash dieting, it’s about healthy habits.